American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) president, Michael McGuffin, yesterday unveiled a draft framework for voluntary advertising practices for dietary supplements that are marketed for weight loss.
The draft guidance was made public by McGuffin at a workshop hosted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) designed to explore alternate approaches to reduce deceptive claims in weight loss advertising.
"The responsible center of the herbal products industry supports sound FTC sanctioned guidelines for advertising weight loss products," said McGuffin. "Additionally, the industry supports strong enforcement against those companies that use false, misleading and illegal advertising practices to gain an unfair competitive edge over those companies that follow the law."
Work on AHPA's weight loss advertising guidelines began this summer but was accelerated by a FTC report on trends in weight loss advertising. The report concluded that false or misleading claims, such as exaggerated weight loss without diet or exercise and misleading consumer testimonials, are widespread in ads, many which appear in mainstream publications.
McGuffin said that AHPA's goal was to create a partnership between a variety of stakeholder groups from science, academia, healthcare, government, commercial enterprise, media and organizations promoting the public interest. "The need for these groups to work together towards a good set of standards transcends our individual goals and objectives," he said.